The Boogeyman (1980 film)

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The Boogeyman
Theatrical Poster for The Boogeyman
Directed by Ulli Lommel
Produced by Ulli Lommel
Gillian Gordon
Written by Ulli Lommel
Starring Suzanna Love
John Carradine
Ron James
Music by Tim Krog
Cinematography Jochen Breitenstein
Edited by Terrell Tannen
Distributed by The Jerry Gross Organization
Image Entertainment
Release dates
November 7, 1980 United States
Running time
82 min
85 min (UK Extended version)
Country  United States
Language English
Budget $300,000 (estimated)
Box office 4,500,000 (USA)
$35,000,000 (Worldwide)

The Boogeyman is a 1980 American supernatural slasher horror film directed by Ulli Lommel and stars Suzanna Love, John Carradine and Ron James. The film concerns two children, Willy and Lacey who are punished by their mother's boyfriend, but soon take revenge as Willy stabs the boyfriend with a kitchen knife while Lacey sees a hanged mirror witnessing the event. 20 years later, Lacey and Willy, now adults are being terrorized by an unseen force and now what they believe as, the spirit of their mother's boyfriend is starting to strike up for revenge on the two.

It was followed by Revenge of the Bogey Man (aka Boogeyman 2) and Return of the Boogeyman.


The film opens with Willy and Lacey as children watching their mother and her lover preparing to have sex. When the mother notices this, The mother's boyfriend ties Willy to a bed and tells Lacey to go to bed, but Lacey frees him with a kitchen knife and Willy soon takes revenge. While the boyfriend has sex with the mother, Willy enters the room and repeatedly stabs his mother's boyfriend to death in the back with the kitchen knife, as the murder is witnessed by a reflecting mirror on the wall.

20 years later, Lacey, now an adult is married with a young son and lives with her aunt and uncle on a farm. Willy also lives with them, but has not spoken a word since the night he killed his mother's lover, and sometimes, Willy takes various knives from the kitchen and hides them in a drawer.

Lacey suffers from nightmares, and has a particularly frightening dream where she is dragged, tied to a bed and stabbed with a kitchen knife by an unseen person. Her husband, Jake, takes her to a psychiatrist to help her confront her fears, and they decide to visit the house she grew up in. They arrive not knowing who is actually living there, and they meet two teenage girls and their younger brother. Their parents, the homeowners, have apparently just placed the home for sale and then gone out of town, and the daughter thinks Lacey and Jake have been sent by the real estate company to view the house. Jake and Lacey pretend they want to buy the house so they can look around. At the house, however, Lacey sees a reflection of her mother's dead lover coming towards her in a mirror in the bedroom where he died, and smashes the mirror in a panic with a chair. Her husband takes the broken mirror with him in an attempt to repair it, but a piece is left behind which later glows red as the teenage girls and their brother are all killed by an unseen force. The murderous spirit of the dead lover has been released from the mirror.

Willy is also having problems with mirrors. Seeing his reflection in one causes him to nearly strangle a girl and so he paints all the mirrors in the house black. Later, pieces of a broken mirror in a bag at his feet cause a pitchfork to levitate and nearly impale him, but misses the attack, as he gets saved from it.

Another shard from the broken mirror becomes stuck to Lacey's son's shoe, and when it reflects the sunlight onto a group of nearby teens they are also killed, including a couple who are killed when the boyfriend is stabbed through the back of the neck with a screwdriver with the blade exiting through his mouth, while his girlfriend is forced into the car via the car's door and pushes onto the screwdriver's blade, killing her as well. Soon, Lacey then tries to get in the house, only to see that her shirt starts to tear apart from an unseen force.

Later, Lacey's husband brings in the family priest to investigate the mirror, only to see that when the priest's hand touches the mirror, the mirror turns red and soon, a piece of the mirror floats from the mirror and becomes lodged over Lacey's eye and she becomes possessed by the evil spirit of her mother's lover. It is only through the actions of the family priest that the shard is removed (during which the family priest is stabbed by various floating knives) and thrown into water, where it bursts into flames as he dies from his wounds. The remainder of the mirror is thrown into a well, where the same thing happens, as an explosion releases and thus, destroying the mirror once and for all.

The film ends with Lacey, her husband and the children visiting the graveyard, only to notice that one last mirror shard, missed by Lacey and her husband, glowing red on the ground, showing that the terror is not over and setting up the events for the sequel.



The film also uses several apparent pieces of folklore and superstition regarding mirrors – as well as the belief that it is bad luck to break a mirror, the film also discusses the belief that breaking a mirror releases everything the mirror has ever 'seen' and that placing the pieces of a broken mirror into a bag and burying it will counteract the bad luck from breaking the mirror. Additionally, there is the belief that a mirror in a room where someone has died will show the dead person looking back over the shoulder of anyone looking into the mirror. All this was used in the Mexican translation of the film title, released as "El espejo asesino" (the killer mirror) [1]


The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by The Jerry Gross Organization beginning in November 1980. It was subsequently released on VHS by Wizard Video.[2]

The film has been released on DVD twice in the United States. The first release was in 1999 by Anchor Bay Entertainment alongside Lommel's The Devonsville Terror (1983).[3] This version is currently out of print. It was subsequently re-released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2005 alongside Lommel's Return of the Boogeyman (1994).[4] The Boogeyman was placed on the UK's DPP list in 1984, but was later re-released on the Vipco label in 1992 in a cut form. In 2000 it was released uncut.


Some critics have said that director Lommel was inspired by John Carpenter's Halloween when he made The Boogeyman, most notably because of the similarities in the musical score and the fact that the killer in both films is a silent man with his face obscured as to make him effectively featureless.[5] In fact, the protagonist characters in Halloween specifically refer to that film's killer as being, in effect, a physical embodiment of the "boogeyman" legend.


Revenge of the Bogey Man (aka Boogeyman 2) was filmed in 1981, but unreleased until 1983. Directed by Bruce Starr and an uncredited Ulli Lommel, it was written by Starr, Lommel and the original film's star, Suzanna Love, although the writing goes uncredited in the film. In Boogeyman 2, Lacey is approached by a group of Hollywood phonies to make a movie based on her experiences. Lacey travels to Hollywood, to the home of a film director (played by Ulli Lommel himself), where she brings along the last surviving haunted mirror shard from the end of the first movie as proof to her horrifying experiences. One by one, the phonies are killed by the mirror spirit who possesses the body of the director's manservent. Boogeyman 2 is padded with many flashback sequences from the first film.

Return of the Boogeyman (or Boogeyman 3) was released in 1994, and is largely constructed around numerous flashbacks to The Boogeyman as well.

Lommel has expressed interest in making a fourth film, tentatively titled Boogeyman 4D.[6]


  1. ^ "El espejo asesino". Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Company Credits for The Boogeyman (1980)". Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  3. ^ "The Boogeyman & The Devonsville Terror (DVD)". Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  4. ^ "Boogeyman, The (1980) / The Return Of The Boogeyman (1994) (Double Feature)". Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  5. ^ Kerkes, David and Slater, David, See No Evil, Headpress, 2000
  6. ^ "Interview with Ulli Lommel". Soiled Sinema. January 29, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 

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